Updated: Jul 16, 2019
I’m an extrovert. This means I really enjoy meeting new people. I love hosting parties and gatherings at our house. I also really enjoy public speaking. I once had the opportunity to speak at the Louisiana Super Dome to 33k people on the topic of leadership. So…I’m an extrovert!
What are some of the strengths of an extrovert in the workplace? Often times an extrovert is very capable of quickly forming close associations with others, comfortably forming friendships with a large number of people, tend to be straightforward, candid, and often charismatic and work well in group settings.
Extroverts tend to be called “the life of the party.” Problem is they…(I) tend to forget when it’s ok to “party” and when it’s not. Wait a minute. There is a time when NOT to party? That’s ridiculous!
I love when I have the opportunity to teach my students “There is a right time and a right place to be a social T-Rex and there is a wrong time and wrong place to be a social T-Rex.”
I share with my students my top 7 challenges as a social T-Rex:
At times I…
1. Often am unable to make analytical, emotionless decisions.
2. May lack gumption…common sense…LOL!
3. May value too highly the validation of others.
4. Have a tendency to get lonely.
5. May occasionally come across as harsh and aggressive or controlling and arrogant.
6. May be inconsiderate or sometimes socially unaware.
7. Can be too intense or lively.
Last time I checked, no human being bats 1.000! That’s a baseball term for being perfect. I’m nowhere close to perfect!
The key is to live in our strengths but to be aware of our challenges.
I shared in previous blogs that I taught myself how to play the piano at age 28. My strength is busting out rhythmic chords and improvising. Making up songs and tunes on the piano come very easy to me. However, my weakness or challenge is reading sheet music. I can read sheet music but UGH, it’s so not natural to me. As a result, I don’t really like reading sheet music.
4 Tips for Extroverts to Grow in the People Skills World:
Discernment is the ability to judge well. In other words, there is a time and a place to be the social T-Rex. Often times, when I’m with a group of people, it’s natural for me to engage in talking and joking around with others. However, I regularly use the skill of discernment and ask myself, “Self, are you dominating the conversation? Self, is this the time and the place to say and do…?”
2. Other-centered vs self-centered
Ever since I was born, I have noticed that much of our culture is very “me-centered.” I once heard it said
that “Galileo got it wrong. The earth does not revolve around the sun. It revolves around you and has been doing so for decades.” Of course this statement was just having a little bit of fun but being self-centered can cause a lot of train wrecks in one’s life.
I love what Srikumar Rao says, “If you live the vast majority of your time in a Me-centered universe, then you are going to get more than your share of depression, angst, sorrow and all of the things that make life terrible.”
Self-centered means you are constantly preoccupied with "me" and what you like and what others think of you and why things aren't going your way.
So, what does “Other-centered” look like?
Here are a few things I try to do daily:
1. Put the phone down. When someone is talking to me, I put the phone away and genuinely listen. I love my phone like most people do, but checking my social media, text messages, 6048 Sports, etc. is just not cool at all when someone is talking to me.
2. Say “Thank you” a lot. Other people do a lot for me. A server at a restaurant takes my food order and delivers my food. A co-worker does me a favor at work. A friend will send a random text wishing me a great day.”
For me to be genuine and throw out a kind and meaningful “Thank you”, does a minimum of two things. First, it blesses the receiver of the “Thank you.” Second, it blesses me the sender of the “Thank you.”
Talking and giving my advice or opinion is super easy for me to do. Often times when I’m in a conversation with another person, I try to allow them to do 80% of the talking and me do only 20% of the talking. Why do I try this? First, a challenge for me is naturally dominating the conversation. For the most part, conversation domination is NOT good. Second, it’s kind of cool to actually listen…LOL! While in a conversation, I will ask the person I’m conversing with a fair amount of questions. This allows me to listen and learn and not dominate. I’ve found out that it’s kind of cool to actually listen and learn…LOL!
Live in your natural strength as an extrovert. As an extrovert, I don't just enjoy talking to friends, family members, and co-workers; I love to strike up conversations with total strangers. I love to meet new people and learn about their lives.
Extroverts also tend to have a wide circle of friends. I’m good at meeting new people, striking up conversations, and I genuinely enjoy the company of others. Making friends comes easy for me. The really interesting thing is my closest friends are introverts. Yes! This is kind of crazy! I’ve learned to not always be an aggressive Social T-Rex, and this has allowed my introverted friends to be able to approach this T-Rex and still be calm and relaxed.
And now, it’s your turn…
Please leave me a comment below and let me know what you think of this post. Your feedback is important to me. 🙂